AEI's Program on Human Flourishing

  • TWCF Number:


  • Project Duration:

    July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2016

  • Core Funding Area:

    Individual Freedom and Free Markets

  • Region:

    North America

  • Amount Awarded:


Director: Arthur Brooks

Institution: American Enterprise Institute

AEI has begun a substantial new body of work—one that represents a dramatic shift for the Institute—called the Program on Human Flourishing. This new effort is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of the cultural underpinnings of free enterprise and entrepreneurship in the United States and around the world—and connecting those underpinnings to the path to universal human well-being. We believe that economic well-being and happiness are impossible without a strong base of individual freedom and human rights. As Sir John Templeton once noted: “capitalism enriches the poor more than any other system humanity has had.”

At AEI, we believe that the purpose of free enterprise is human flourishing, not materialism. We believe that it is only through free enterprise that we can stimulate true prosperity and innovative thinking—as opposed to simply treating poverty. To do this, we need three things: moral transformation (faith, family, community, work); material relief (housing, food, medical care), and opportunity for all (education and a strong free enterprise system). We plan to study how free enterprise can provide these things, and what the best policies are to strengthen this path to prosperity both nationally and internationally.

We will also examine the basis for individual freedom in the United States and around the world; because we know that economic freedom and individual freedom must exist in tandem. As Milton Friedman noted in his renowned book, Capitalism and Freedom, “economic freedom plays a dual role in the promotion of a free society. On the one hand, freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself. In the second place, economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.”


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